Tomkins to shine in Auckland Nines
New signing Sam Tomkins headlines a 16-strong Warriors squad named on Saturday to contest the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park next month.
He joins star halfback Shaun Johnson to provide a mix of skill, pace and try-scoring ability.
Tomkins has scored 144 tries in 151 games for Wigan, while Johnson has 28 tries in 62 NRL appearances.
Tomkins, 25, says the Warriors nines squad has plenty of potential.
“We’ve got a great team with a lot of speed, players like Tui (Lolohea) who has electric feet. It’s going to be brilliant,” said the England international.
Young tackle-breaking specialists Konrad Hurrell and 20-year-old Ngani Laumape were also named in a youthful squad that includes Glen Fisiiahi, highly rated Carlos Tuimavave and a trio of talented 19-year-olds in David Fusitua, Tuimolala Lolohea and Solomone Kata.
Warriors assistant coach Ricky Henry, who will be masterminding the Warriors’ bid for nines glory, says the squad is looking forward to playing in front of a sold-out Eden Park.
Temporary seating for an extra 1600 fans has been added after the original 88,000 ticket allocation for the February 15-16 event sold out.
“We wanted to put a strong squad together and we’ve been able to do that with a group of players who’ll give us plenty of skill and pace,” Henry said.
In preparing for the NRL Nines, Henry said he’d consulted legendary New Zealand rugby union sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens and former sevens specialist Karl Te Nana for tips.
“I’ve learned from them about the way they prepared for the Wellington Sevens, which is similar to situation were in being the home team at Eden Park,” he said.
Warriors: Jayson Bukuya, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Glen Fisiiahi, David Fusitua, Charlie Gubb, Konrad Hurrell, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Shaun Johnson, Solomone Kata, Ngani Laumape, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sione Lousi, Suaia Matagi, Dominique Peyroux, Sam Tomkins, Carlos Tuimavave.